The Guild has asked the Home Ministry to direct police forces in different states to offer adequate protection to journalists engaged in coverage of the ongoing protests.

Editors Guild condemns police attacks on journalists covering protests over CAA
news CAA Monday, December 23, 2019 - 13:08

The Editors Guild of India on Monday issued a statement condemning the acts of violence and brutality committed by police forces, in particular, those in Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh, against media persons in different parts of the country over the past week.

“The Guild reminds the police forces across the country that journalists are present at different venues, where protests are taking place, as part of their constitutionally guaranteed duties of gathering information and disseminating it among the people through their respective media platforms. Using force or physical violence against journalists on duty throttles the very voice of democracy and media freedom,” the statement reads.

The Guild has also asked the Union Home Ministry to direct police forces in different states to offer adequate protection to journalists engaged in coverage of the ongoing protests. 

“Instead of targeting them for physical attack, the need of the hour is to ensure proper and responsible coverage, a goal that cannot be achieved by such acts of violence and brutality against journalists on duty,” the statement adds. 

The statement comes after multiple incidents emerged of journalists being detained or assaulted during their coverage of the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act across India. In Karnataka, after the death of two men in police firing in Mangaluru, journalists from Kerala were stopped from reporting and detained outside Wenlock Hospital in Mangaluru. The bodies of the victims had been kept at Wenlock Hospital at the time. 

In Mangaluru, on Thursday. a journalist named Ismail Zaorez who is working with Vartha Bharati, a regional paper based in Mangaluru, was assaulted during a lathi charge by police officials. This in spite of the journalist showing his ID card. Ismail alleged that his ID card was taken away from him by force by the police and was only returned to him after a group of journalists discussed the issue with police personnel. 

In Uttar Pradesh, The Hindu reporter Omar Rashid wrote a first-person account of how he was apprehended by police while he was reporting on the protest against the CAA in Lucknow. According to the report, his phone was snatched by the police who later verbally abused him, accusing him of orchestrating the protest. He also narrated that his friend who was with him was beaten up and that an officer threatened to “tear his beard and thrash him” if he did not answer the police’s questions satisfactorily.

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